Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Delicious Fractions & Fun Geography Games

      We started our day by watching a few movies; Travel with Kids to Costa Rica and Popular Mechanics for Kids; Slither and Slime as part of our geography and science lessons for today.   We also read An Earthworm's Life and made our own slimy creatures by growing a gummy bear.   According to most sites I looked at; when placed in regular water overnight a gummy bear will grow and multiply in size, but one site found that the bear dissolved in water so we'll see what happens tomorrow I guess.  I found this great print- out for the boys to measure and trace the gummy bear before and after that explained the experiment too; I'm not one for worksheets usually but something about this one appealed to me so we used it today.  After just a few hours they excitedly called me over yelling "they're huge!"

        For geography we also played a game of The Scrambled States of America.  The boys saw this game arrive in the mail yesterday and have been asking to play it; building anticipation is always a good thing!  They LOVED it.  It was a bit too hard for Evan so he teamed up with me for the first game and then he went to go play while we played two more games.  They had so much fun and it's a quick, easy game to play, as long as you can read.

      We read the Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fraction Book and using real Hershey's bars had the kids demonstrate each of the fractions.  The best part was eating the candy bars when we were done!   We followed up that lesson with a fun fraction game.  I gave each of the older two boys some counters and a few dice.  They rolled the dice, made a fraction, found it on the board, and covered it up.  The one with the most fractions covered at the end wins.  Alec was thrilled when he won by one counter and Ian seemed consoled by the fact that he only lost by one.  I just loved hearing them work together to find each fraction and couldn't help but notice how far they've come in identifying fractions!  Evan played with the fraction tiles while they played the game.  All the boys ended up playing with the fraction tiles and geo-boards/ elastics for part of the morning just for fun. 

making thirds; then twelfths

Fraction game

Here's mine!
Geo- boards

       My husband and I have been working with Evan on reading, usually at night before bed, since he seems to enjoy reading with my husband the most.  Yet, we're noticing that he's not picking up much of anything.  After several straight weeks he still can't remember any sight words, not even those that had been found in his Bob's books.  So I pulled out my book Success With Sight Words and went looking for fun activities and games to play with him today.  My goal is to have him reading (and I mean really reading) by this time next year so please wish us luck (since my original goal of homeschooling was to have him reading by now!).  I'm hoping if the activity fun enough he might not even notice he's learning.  That's why I was thrilled to find Mom to Posh Lil Diva's blog all about fun sight word games! I honestly couldn't decide-- sight word twister, sight word musical chairs, the possibilities were endless!  We finally decided on musical chairs; write sight words on paper/ index cards and lay them in a circle on the floor.  While playing the music the kids walk, hop, crawl, etc. around the circle until the music stops and then they have to read the word closest to them.  In our game no one is ever out and everyone wins.  We played a few rounds until they seemed to get sick of it.  They were giggling, and had so much fun coming up with motions to do each time-- hopping, skipping, galloping, flapping their arms like a bird, crawling like a baby, commando crawling, sniffing like a dog; you name it & they probably tried it.  The words I choose for today's game were ridiculously easy for the older two boys but they had fun playing anyway.  Evan seemed to pick up on a few of the words but we'll see how much he remembers next time we play. 

      We started our batik t-shirts today!  I had let the boys each pick out some acrylic paints a week or two ago at the craft store and promised we'd be making shirts with them.  I finally found the time to start them with the kids.  We first looked at pictures of batik cloth and clothes to give them some ideas and then I set them loose with white t- shirts and clear glue (though white glue will also work well).  Ian sketched his design first but Alec and Evan decided to just free hand them.  We got the fronts all glued and set them in the sun to dry.  We'll work on the backside another day and then once they're all dry we'll get to add color to them! 

       It was a super busy day and we never finished school until 2:30; one of our longest days ever!  We took many breaks between activities where they played with dinosaurs, cars, swords, and a new game called Kanoodle.   For some reason homeschooling seems to go really well for us in the spring and fall.  The boys are enthused, we're finding "fun" things to do, and they're all getting along pretty well (not perfect, but pretty good-- after all they are brothers!).   The boys swam and made up games.  My favorite was when they were pretending to make a Popular Mechanics for Kids movie about water; they'd shout the title as they jumped off the dock and then give commentaries on when they swim, how they swim and all the fun things they can "do with the water in the early spring when the water is still freezing."

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